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February 10, 2011
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In October 2010, Henry Gifford filed a lawsuit against USGBC alleging misrepresentation claims against USGBC and some of its individual founders regarding its LEED rating system. The crux of the suit centers on Gifford’s claims that USGBC and the LEED green building rating system makes false promises about energy performance of LEED buildings. The original complaint named Rick Fedrizzi, Rob Watson and other individuals as defendants, included misrepresentation style claims, and also included monopolization anti-trust based claims.

Chesapeake Bay BridgeLast week EPA issued its "pollution diet" for the Chesapeake Bay. The total maximum daily load (TDML) of various materials is established by EPA in the diet and includes a 25% reduction in nitrogen, a 24% reduction in phosphorous, and a 20% reduction in sediment according to Engineering News Record (subscription only). The plan also includes annual total watershed limits.

Have you heard the DC Zoning Commission is looking into adopting a new set of GAR requirements?  No, we're not talking about the kind of fish that eats every other kind of fish it can fit in its mouth, we're talking about Green Area Ratio ("GAR") requirements.  According to the report prepared by DC zoning staff, the GAR concept is not a new concept, but is a Low Impact Development best management practices tool used in major cities in Europe such as Berlin and Malmo.

November 12, 2010
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I ran across a recent TED presentation by Eben Bayer, co-inventor of MycoBond.  MycoBond is an adhesive based on mycelium, a living organism.   In essence, the process uses fungi to transform agriwaste and convert it into a foam-like material that can be used for packaging and insulation.

Styrofoam is ubiquitous in transport and packaging.  Styrofoam takes up 25-30% of landfill area by volume.  Polystyrene manufacturing was recognized by the EPA as the 5th largest creator of hazardous waste all the way back in 1986.  In addition to not being particularly degradable, Styrofoam uses significant amounts of petroleum.

November 9, 2010
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The second draft version of the International Green Construction Code being prepared by the International Code Council (Public Version 2.0) was released last week as anticipated, which incorporates the actions taken at the hearings this past August.  If you have any suggestions on how to improve on Public Version 2.0, Code Change Submittals are now being accepted and the forms are available on the ICC's website.  The final action to adopt the IGCC is a year away, and the public review process will continue until then.  The schedule can be found on their website here, and we'll endeavor to keep you updated as it continues to evolve.

As I was discussing some of Arlington's Community Energy Plan goals with an architect friend of mine the other day, it was apparent to both of us that a number of the County's stated goals for energy efficiency (such as the 30% increase in efficiency) in its plan track the time line for the incorporation of the the International Code Council's Green Construction Code in one form or another by Virginia.  After spending some time reviewing the Synopsis of the International Green Construction Code currently in process to be adopted by November of next year by the ICC, it was clear that what has been contemplated and encouraged by USGBC's third party rating system was adopted by the proposed ICC Green Construction Code.  In fact, the requirements set out for election by jurisdictions should sound pretty familiar to you, such as Site Development and Land Use, Material Resource Conservation and Efficiency, Energy Conservation and Earth Atmospheric Quality, Water Resource Conservation and Efficiency, Commissioning, Operation and Maintenance, etc.  There's even a handy checklist to use, just like the one the USGBC provides.

Well, now that I've had the chance to really focus on and review Arlington County's Community Energy Plan Summary of Preliminary Recommendations and its Addendum, published on October 13th, it looks like the County has taken its first step toward its goal for a Community Energy Plan.  As with prior explanations about the Community Energy Plan, there are quite a lot of facts and statistics, and there is a lot of information presented, which really doesn't answer the basic question that everybody is asking, which is: "How will this plan impact me?"  For this reason, without commenting on the policies or goals behind the plan, I thought it might be time for a fact sheet that distills out the implications of the preliminary plan.  As with most policy documents, the plan will change and evolve over time once it is adopted.  So here's the tip of the iceberg:

October 18, 2010
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GSA logoLance Davis, director of the sustainability office for the General Services Administration, announced that moving forward, GSA will require all projects to achieve a LEED Gold certification level from through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system of the U.S. Green Building Council.

The announcement occurred at the Green Legal Matters conference in New Orleans on Oct. 15.

PodiumI wanted to share the materials I have available thus far from our October 1 seminar, Benefits, Costs and Risks of Green Building that we put on for the American Institute of Architects Northern Virginia Chapter.  A quick but very hearty thank you is due to Debbie Burns of the AIA who did a tremendous job organizing the seminar.

 

shhThe GBCI has quietly changed the rules associated with the LEED challenge process.  Few people were even aware of the challenge process and its implications until the Northland Pines High School challenge became a topic of discussion and even controversy.  The original LEED challenge process permitted literally anyone to bring a challenge to a LEED certification at any time.  Chris Cheatham covered the Northland Pines challenge and its aftermath in a series of great posts.